• Access and hire global talent & deploy them anywhere in the world
  • Remove restriction from only hiring from local markets
  • Enter any international market without the requirement of opening a local entity

Expanding into the Netherlands – characterised by a productive and international workforce, complex employment and tax laws, a robust infrastructure network linking to the rest of Europe, as well as the title of Europe’s most competitive market, with leading sectors in agriculture, creative industries, energy, and high-tech systems and materials – can bring excitement to the possibilities but also significant stress to ensure compliance with the rigorous country’s legislation when setting up an entity.

Global Expansion is a step to make for any business, regardless of your goal. But the opportunities that can come with an expansion can be stimulating as well as intimidating and confusing, especially when you consider all of the registration procedures that need to be done and the documentation required. Going at it without the proper support can increase the costs, time and risks involved.

The legwork and potential red tape can be worked through more efficiently and cost-effectively with the support of a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) such as Bradford Jacobs, primarily through our Employer of Record (EOR) framework. It can be best utilised when businesses are just beginning their expansion process and require more information before incorporating an entity and fully establishing themselves in that market.

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Netherlands – The Economy

The Netherlands can be defined as possessing one of the strongest markets in Europe, with its influence stretching throughout Europe and beyond. The Dutch economy has been highlighted as one of the most competitive in Europe and fourth most competitive in the world according to the World Economic Forum and 2020 IMD rankings, as well as fifth in the 2020 Global Innovations Index.

The Netherlands boasts a prosperous open economy, and is noted for its stable industrial relations, low unemployment and inflation rates, and a highly educated, diverse, and multilingual workforce.

Geographically, the Netherlands is ideally placed in the European continent, with 95% of Europe’s most lucrative markets reached within 24 hours by road from Amsterdam or Rotterdam. 

The country also benefits from a strong infrastructure of airports, railways, waterways, and ports that connects the country domestically and internationally. Rotterdam has the largest port in Europe, whilst Amsterdam’s International Airport is one of the largest in the world.

The country has had steady natural gas resources since 1959, upon the discovery of a wellspring – which accounts for more than 25% of all natural gas reserves in the European Union. The sale of natural gas generated a significant amount of revenue over the decades, but there are more sectors that contribute to the country’s resources.

The Netherlands also have their eyes on the future, embracing innovation, sustainability, and digitalization with the EU Innovation Scoreboard (2020) ranking the country as the fourth-best nation for innovators. 

The Netherlands is a main gateway to European talent for companies expanding abroad and as a magnet for business ventures from the United States, Australia, China, and India.

The Netherlands (Nederland)
No. of Provinces
12 provinces: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland (also known as Frisia), Gelderland (also known as Guelders), Groningen, Limburg, North Brabant, North Holland, Overijssel, South Holland, Utrecht, and Zeeland.
Principal Cities
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, Utrecht, Groningen, Breda, Tilburg, Nijmegen, and Almere.
Local Currency
Euro (EUR)
Major Religions
No religion (55.4%) - Christianity (37.5%) - Islam (5.2%)
Date Format
Time Zone
Mainland: CET (UTC+1 /+2 in Summer DST) Overseas territories: AST (UTC-4)
Country Dial Code
Population (February 2023 est.)
17.7 million
Border Countries
Belgium (450 km - 280 mi) and Germany (577 km - 359 mi).
Tax Year
1 January – 31 December (calendar year)
National Minimum Wage (2023)
EUR 1,934.40/month gross (since January 1, 2023)
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
The TIN is called BSN and is formed of a 9-digit code (Burgerservicenummer).
Leading Sectors by GDP % (2021)
Services (69.4%) - Industry (18.1%) - Manufacturing (11%) - Agriculture (1.5%).
Main imports (2022)
Fuel (29%), machinery (26%), food and live animals (8.6%), pharmaceuticals and electronics.
Main exports (2022)
Machinery and transport equipment (28%), mineral fuels (23%), food (11%), clothing and footwear (10%) and pharmaceuticals (5%).
Main trading partners (2021)
Main Customers: Germany (24%), Belgium (12%), France (9%), United Kingdom (8%), United States, Italy and Japan.

Main Suppliers: Germany (17%), Belgium (10%), China (8.5%), United Kingdom (6.9%), United States (6.6%), Russia and Italy.
Government Type
Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Current Monarch/PM
Monarch: Willem-Alexander (since April 30, 2013)

Prime Minister: Mark Rutte (since 2010)

The Main Sectors of the Dutch Economy

The country focuses on the following key sectors, which all have a significant impact on the country’s economy:

  • Agriculture and Food – The Netherlands is one of the world’s largest exporters in agricultural and food products, even though it contributes only 1.5% of the country’s national GDP.
  • Creative Industries – The Dutch Creative Industry has been strengthening in recent years, gaining a strong reputation and international acclaim in areas such as interior design, gaming, and fashion. The annual turnover of these industries is over 7.1 billion euros.
  • Chemical Industry – The country is also a leading European supplier of chemical products and services, with easy access to the required raw materials. The chemical industry turned over a respectable 52 billion euros in 2019.
  • Energy – The Netherlands boasts a strong reputation in the areas of renewable energy such as wind farming and biomass processing, energy efficiency, as well as greenhouse farming. Energy provides a substantial contribution to the local economy, forming part of the services sector which contributes about 70% of the country’s GDP.
  • High Tech systems and materials – Dutch high-tech industries are amongst the most innovative in the world, due to the country’s state-of-the-art facilities, and pioneering research and development. Dutch knowledge and products are sought after and exported worldwide. These industries benefit from strong government support, with over 2 billion euros being invested in R&D yearly.
  • Horticulture – The Netherlands is the leading trendsetter and a global market leader in various aspects of greenhouse technology, such as flowers, plants, bulbs, reproductive material, and nutritional horticultural products. In 2018, this sector contributed about 21 billion euros to the country’s economy.

Expanding into Netherlands
Starting a business in Netherlands


  • Life Sciences and Health – The Dutch Life Sciences and Health sector competes on a global scale, due to strong links between industry and academia, focused clusters, and strong chains linking research to product and business creation. These industries also benefit from strong government support, with over 2 billion euros being invested in industry R&D yearly.

  • Finance – The Dutch finance industries are leading the way in finance and Fintech, bringing traditional finance services into the future with tech innovation, research, development, as well as digital infrastructure. Amsterdam is also the world capital of green finances and ranks as the 2nd biggest fintech nation in the EU.
  • Water – The Netherlands is also a world leader in water management, shipbuilding, and sustainable systems for water production, supply, and partial recycling of “used” water.

Labour Law in the Netherlands

The Dutch Civil Code, Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment all figure in establishing legal parameters in the Netherlands. The European Union (EU) directives also come into play along with Collective Labour Agreements (CAOs).

The combination of different laws provides comprehensive protection for employees in the Netherlands with mandatory provisions covering topics such as working hours, minimum wages, paid vacations, health and safety, anti-discrimination, illness, and injury benefits.

Tax and Labour Authorities

  • The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst)
  • The Social Security Bank (SVB), which coordinates the Dutch social insurance systems – national insurance (for individuals living in the Netherlands), and employee insurance (for those working in the country).
  • The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)– this operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) and handles benefits covering such as unemployment and sickness.

Contracts Law

When it comes to employment contracts, according to the law, all contract types must include the following information:

  • full details of employer and employee
  • employment location and employee’s role
  • usual working hours
  • start date of contract and end date if fixed term
  • salary and payment schedule
  • any probationary period
  • holiday entitlement
  • notice period

However, there are a number of different contract types, and each type also has their own rules to follow. 

  • Permanent or Indefinite Employment Contracts (Vast contract)
  • Fixed term Employment Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts (tijdelijk contract)
  • Probationary or Trial Period Employment (Proeftijd) 
  • Recruitment Agency Employment Contracts (Uitzend contract) 
  • Freelance Employment Contracts (DBA modelovereenkomst) 


For more information, download our free guide or get in touch with our consultants here